Behavior and Etiquette – Summary

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Hospitality is an important element of Afghan life and includes generosity of food, relationship building, and polite gestures of hand shaking and small talk upon greeting.  Keep in mind though, that these same behaviors are not appropriate towards women (unless you are a woman). Social practices of eating communally on floor pillows, waiting for elders, removing shoes upon entering and using the right hand are best practiced by observing others.  Hand gestures which include pointing, the middle finger and upward palms are considered offensive, while standing within close contact is the norm. Discussions regarding politics and religion should be avoided as well as any action or speech which criticizes an Afghan person.  While many Afghans appreciate cats, dogs are not pets. Attempting to rush a social or business encounter will remain unproductive, as Afghans are more focused on relationships rather than agendas. Keep in mind:

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